Reducing the Carbon Footprint in Tech

Reducing the Carbon Footprint in Tech

Do you ever stop to think about the size of the undertakings that some of the tech GIANTS have, in order to provide this amazing service? I only recently started to research the impact that our daily business, searches, entertainment streams gave on the planet. The 4th industrial revolution will create a monster far greater and more serious than the current plastic waste one we are dealing with.

cables from a server room

What are we consuming?

According to The Shift Project, the average CO2 consumption of streamed online video is more than 300 million tons per year (based on measurements taken in 2018).

Jens Gröger, a senior researcher at the Öko-Institut, estimates that each search query emits around 1.45 grams of CO2. If we use a search engine to make around 50 search queries per day, this produces a huge 26 kilograms of CO2 per year.

A minute of consumption of data

Microsoft leads the way

Always ambitious and ready to right the wrongs, Microsoft pledged to be Carbon negative by 2030. What this means is that they will be removing more CO2 than they put into the world. On top of this, the juggernaut has also promised to reduce all previous emissions right from the year it was founded, by 2050.

Carbon dioxide is a colorless gas with a density about 53% higher than that of dry air. Carbon dioxide molecules consist of a carbon atom covalently double bonded to two oxygen atoms. It occurs naturally in Earth’s atmosphere as a trace gas.

That’s some goal.

Here is a bit more about the science behind their effort :

We need more Liams

In a world where we are all about sustainability and recycling, it is good to see major players in the tech space leading the way through innovations like Liam. Apple reports that around two-thirds of devices are now passed on to new users and the rest are recycled.

Amazon makes its own

Amazon is committed to 100% renewable energy sources and is producing its own sources of energy in the form of solar and wind energy.

Amazon recently purchased 100,000 custom electric delivery vehicles as part of their global shipment zero project. The company has been ranked first in the U.S. by the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) for corporate on-site solar panels. Amazon says that these offset 200 million miles of truck deliveries and is introducing more — there are now 50 systems on top of fulfilment centre roofs globally, powering around 80 per cent of the needs for each centre.

Google comes to the party

Just like Amazon, Google is coming to the renewable energy party by creating their own sources of energy for their large data hubs. With data and cloud continuing to grow at phenomenal rates more sustainability strategies are needed as well as innovation in design for sustainability.

The 2.8-megawatt solar plant at Google’s data centre in Belgium shows that Google’s sustainability efforts are serious for all to see. Whilst it is often difficult to get the full breakdown of energy consumption and emissions, the fact that they are willing to go to this effort to reduce the footprint means they are serious about becoming a net-zero participant. Google was able to match 100% of their electricity use with renewable energy purchases.